In what appears to be a cycle of arrests and retribution, a nine-year-old boy was killed and nearly 20 people were injured in a crude bomb explosion in a busy market lane in south Delhi’s Mehrauli Sarai on Saturday afternoon.
The blast comes just two weeks after a series of low intensity blasts rocked the Capital on September 13, killing 26 people and injuring over 100. It also comes exactly a week after Delhi Police claimed it had cracked the September 13 blast case and shot the alleged mastermind of the Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad blasts at Jamia Nagar.
The blast occurred at 2.10 p.m. in front of an electronics showroom in the narrow and congested market, popular as the Sarai. This is part of the Mehrauli main market close to Qutab Minar and barely 10 metres from the Jahaj Mahal that hosts the “Phoolwalon Ki Sair” procession.
Till late on Saturday, no terrorist group had claimed responsibility for the blast.
“It was a crude bomb, there was no timer or detonators attached to the explosives,” said a senior police officer.
“Some traces of ammonium nitrate and acid were also used in the bomb. The explosives had been packed in a tiffin box that was wrapped in a newspaper and black polythene. Iron nails had been stuffed into the explosives,” the police officer added.
A crater of about six inches was left on the road due to the explosion. Two-inch long iron strips were inserter in the device to act as shrapnel and maximise its impact.
Police, who reached the spot after an hour, ruled out the possibility that the blast could have been set off by any terror group and believe the low-intensity, crude device was planted by a local network of criminals.
Deputy commissioner of Police (special cell) Alok Kumar told HT: “The evidence collected so far indicates that the bomb had no timer or detonantor and it was low-intensity. We do not think it was linked to the Indian Mujahideen or any other terror group. In the recent past, in the stretch between the IP flyover and the Andheria road-junction in Mehrauli, there have been instances when bike-borne youths have dropped bombs in crowded streets.”
Police sources said they had recovered an identity card from the spot whose details were being verified.
Vinod Khattar, an eyewitness, said, “It was a quiet afternoon with hordes of shoppers thronging the place. I was sitting in my shop. At about 2.10 p.m. two men on a black Pulsar motorcycle drove inside the narrow lane and slowed down. One of them ducked and dropped a pear shaped box wrapped in a newspaper and drove away. A nine-year-old boy, Santosh, who was standing nearby, saw it and shouted to the men that they had dropped something. Fumes were coming out of the packet. The moment he touched it an explosion occured.”
One of the passerby alerted Santosh that there was smoke coming out of the packet and he should step aside.
“But it was too late. Before the boy could react there was this big explosion. Once the smoke cleared, there were a dozen bodies lying around. The shopkeepers of the area rushed out soon after to help the blast victims,” Khattar added.
“The two men were driving rashly and I even had a tiff with them. They were wearing black T shirts and were in their late twenties,” said Sushila Solanki who was walking behind the motorcyclists.
The bikers had overtaken a scooterist who noted down the registration number of the motorcycle and has given it to the police.
“We have certain clues into the case, we have sent the samples for forensic examination,” said HGS Dhaliwal, DCP (South).